It looks like a new effort to attract the prestigious Crystal Springs Uplands School to Belmont has failed, Councilwoman Coralin Feierbach told the Daily Journal yesterday.
“We tried,” Feierbach said. “Something good could have happened.”
CSUS Board of Trustees President Tony Stayner asked Feierbach to take the item off the April 23 agenda for the City Council’s next meeting, she told the Daily Journal yesterday.
The school leased 6-8 and 10 Davis Drive in the Belmont Hills while it went through a lengthy planning process to expand the Hillsborough-based private school by building a new middle school campus on property that now houses offices.
But since the school does not own the property, it has decided to not move forward with the process for now in Belmont, school spokeswoman Andrea Edwards wrote the Daily Journal in an email.
The school’s main priority has been to grow its campus and its officials worked with Belmont for 18 months on plans to build a new middle school until the council voted against it in October on a 3-2 vote, with Feierbach voting no.
Feierbach, however, recently approached the school as she heard the Davis Drive properties were about to be sold to a developer with plans to build housing in the area. She invited school officials to resubmit an application for a general plan amendment and development deal.
“If CSUS had purchased it, we could have both benefited. It’s sad,” Feierbach said about the school and city.
The school, a nonprofit exempt from paying property taxes, offered the city a one-time $1 million payment, annual payments of $250,000 in its development deal and use of a turfed athletic field.
Steve Divney, with Colliers International, is marketing the Davis Drive property for sale but would not confirm whether it has been sold or who the interested buyers may be.
A fan of the project two years ago, Feierbach voted against it in October after a contentious process that divided the city in two camps — one that contends a new school in the hills will bring in too much traffic and another that said the renowned institution will be a big plus for the city.
The entire council gave CSUS officials a general “thumbs-up” in a preliminary design review of the project back in April 2011.
But in the 18 months between that meeting and the October meeting when the project was shot down, three of the five on the council said it was not appropriate to amend the city’s general plan to accommodate just one applicant. Voting no was Feierbach, Councilman Dave Warden and current Mayor Christine Wozniak. Councilmen David Braunstein and Warren Lieberman voted for the project.
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